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Cream of Chicken Pasta Soup

When I thought that our family's favorite recipes were well established, this delicious and memorable hearty soup captured the day…not too rich, just the right amount of seasoning and an exceptional flavor that will also become one of your “best of all time” favorites. Enjoy! Diane Bell

2 medium onions
2 celery ribs
4 cups water
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8oz. each)
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ + tsp. pepper
2 cans (14 ½ oz) chicken broth (99% fat free)
1 large carrot, sliced ¼ inch
1 large baker potato, peeled and cubed
¾ inch 2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules or cubes
2 tsp dried basil (or 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil)
2 ½ cups uncooked pasta twists or extra wide noodles
1 ¾ cups milk, divided – reserving ½ cup
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1. Chop one onion and one celery rib; set aside. Cut remaining onion and celery in chunks; place in a dutch oven; add the water chicken, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is tender ( do not over cook). Remove chicken, drain (strain) broth and reserve, discard vegetables.
2. In the same Dutch oven, sauté chopped onion, celery in butter until tender. Add the canned broth, carrot, potato, bouillon, basil and reserved broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender.
3. Add pasta, Return to boil; cook for 6-8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Cut chicken into 3/4 inch chunks, add to the soup. Stir in 1 ¼ cups milk; heat through.
4. Combine flour and remaining cold milk until smooth; add to soup stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes. Soup can be thinned with extra broth if desired.

Yield: 8 servings Country Feb/March 2009